“Transfixed, they stared. His inspection did not last longer than a few minutes but there was something chilling, something impersonal yet intent about it, that was frightening.” (page 31)
I really didn’t know much about Starlight before I started reading it. I’d read Stella Gibbon’s Cold Comfort Farm and really liked it so I was looking forward to this one.
The story starts out with two sisters, Gladys and Annie Barnes, who are elderly and impoverished but quite content with their life in the cottage they share with other lodgers. Their life takes an interesting turn though as their home is bought and the new landlord, Mr. Pearson, plans to move his wife into part of the cottage. He hopes the new environment will help lift her spirits but the other tenants quickly start to wonder what other sort of spirits might be lurking about.
“They had all been getting on so nicely. And now everything was upset. I can’t never feel safe again, not after this, she thought.” (page 202)
There are a lot of quirky characters in this book but I think my favorite has to be Mr. Fisher – the old man who lives upstairs and goes by a different name each month. There were a few slow parts for me but, overall, I ended up liking Starlight better than Cold Comfort Farm. The ending really surprised me. I’m not sure what I was expecting but that certainly wasn’t it!
I’m definitely going to have read some more of Stella Gibbon’s books!
From The Cover: Gladys and Annie Barnes are impoverished sisters who have seen better times. They live in a modest cottage in the backstreets of Highgate with Mr. Fisher, a mild but eccentric old man living secretly in the attic above them. Their quiet lives are thrown into confusion when a new landlord takes over; a dreaded and unscrupulous ‘rackman’. He installs his wife in part of the cottage in the hope that there she will recover from an unspecified malady. With a mounting sense of fear, Gladys and Annie become convinced she is possessed by an evil spirit…
Just One More Thing: “Gerald had listened with sensations that were quite unfamiliar to him. It was the chill emanating from the shut door on the landing that reinforced each word of Gladys’s, loading them; colouring them ominously. He could feel it on his face and hands now, and through the thick old clothes he had put on for the burning of the papers. It was as if he were standing in a steady wind that was streaming off a glacier.” (page 308)
This Edition: Paperback published by Vintage (2011)
Other Books By Stella Gibbons: Cold Comfort Farm, Bassett, Enbury Heath, Miss Linsey and Pa, Nightingale Wood, My American, The Rich House, Ticky, The Bachelor, Westwood, The Matchmaker, Conference at Cold Comfort Farm, The Swiss Summer, Fort of the Bear, The Shadow of a Sorcerer, Here Be Dragons, White Sand and Grey Sand, A Pink Front Door, The Weather at Tregulla, The Wolves Were in the Sledge, The Charmers, The Snow Woman, The Woods In Winter – Short Stories – Roaring Tower and Other Stories, Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm and Other Stories, Beside the Pearly Water
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